Tag Archives: Children

Mouthwash Fun

14 Oct

Hello there! Today I’m sharing an activity I learned from the first placed I worked as an OT. It’s a great activity, cheap, re-useable, and fun!

Supplies: ACT Mouthwash for kids (or any kind that has the capability of squeezing only a certain amount into the top), and a container.

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Have the child squeeze the bottle to fill the top of the bottle with mouthwash. You can have the child use both hands, or just his dominant hand, depending on current strength and end goal. Talk to the child about grading the amount of force used to squeeze the bottle so there is no spillage. It’s fun to watch the level of the mouthwash change if too much is squeezed. This can teach the child how to control and grade their hand strength.

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Next step is pour into a container. You can have them pour into a large container, small container, various containers, etc. depending on their goals. It’s a great activity to work towards the skill of being able to pour their own milk, juice, etc. You could even use dixie cups labeled with their name or phone number to work on sequencing.

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Have the child do as many repetitions of this as possible to increase hand strength. Sometimes making a fill line, or using small containers to try to fill them up is some good motivation!

Once full, to put the fluid back in the bottle, all you do is turn it upside down and squeeze some more! The bottle will refill itself! It does take a little bit of work from the therapist at the end to get all of the liquid back into the bottle.

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Other things to discuss during the activity could include: what is mouth wash used for, using mouth wash at home, counting the number of seconds the child can squeeze in a row, adding food coloring to the liquid to change the color, etc.

It helps that Sponge Bob is on the front too… ūüôā

Have fun!
~Amy

Fine Motor Friday!

13 Oct

Hi guys! Jeez it feels like it’s been so long since I’ve posted. My week has been crazy, but I’m back and I have a new idea for Friday posts: Fine Motor Friday!

Fine Motor Button

For the first one, I would like to share an idea from my awesome co-worker, yes…again! She needs to start her own blog!

Supplies: 1 pumpkin, lots of thumb tacks!

This is a fantastic idea and very appropriate for the fall! I absolutely love this!!!! What a great way to work on fine motor skills through resistive strengthening, sequencing, precision, and safety! She could even use colored thumb tacks to create patterns, a jack-o-lantern face, etc. WAHOO for fine motor skills and YAY for pumpkins!!

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Happy fall!
~Amy

Mat Man!

29 Sep

One of my favorite ways to teach body awareness and drawing a picture of a person with a body (versus a head with arms and legs ūüėČ is the Handwriting without Tears Mat Man! If you’ve never heard of Handwriting without Tears (HWT) check it out at: http://www.hwtears.com. HWT is a handwriting curriculum developed by an OT using a hands-on, educationally sound instructional method to teach handwriting. It is composed of several workbooks, teaching manuals, educational materials such as flash cards, CDs, and different types of paper. The curriculum also has an assessment, The Print Tool, used to evaluation and remediate capital letters, lower-case letters, and numbers. HWT has been adopted by the Texas State Board of Education, and meets TEKS standards for Language Arts. The workbooks have even been translated into Spanish, French, and Hebrew! How cool is that? Maybe I should purchase the Hebrew book for myself. I’ve always wanted to learn how to write Hebrew!

Anyways, one of the HWT programs is called, Get Set for School. It’s primarily based for pre-K to K kids for pre-writing, letter recognition, proper letter formation, and other developmentally appropriate activities to allow the child to be ready for Kindergarten. One of the tools used with this program is the wood pieces set (http://shopping.hwtears.com/product/WP/GSS). It has big lines, little lines, big curves, and little curves that are used to teach basic letter formation, recognition, and memory. In the teacher’s manual there is a pattern to create your own wood pieces set. I used this pattern to create a set of wood pieces on poster board. I chose the color yellow so the letters would be bright!

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HWT encourages the wood pieces also be used to make mat man! The Get Set for School even has a nice little song to sing while you build mat man. Sing along with the song, if your voice is good enough and the child doesn’t ask you to be quiet. This happens quite a bit in my treatment sessions. I decided to make some facial features for my version of mat man. I made 2 of each: blue, green, and brown eyes, so the child can pick out the same color eyes he has. I made a mouth, nose, and even some eyebrows. You can even give mat man a belly button! Now all I need to do is make him some hands and a variety of hats to wear and then he will be complete! I may have a few of my kiddos help me with this task. Then they can work on tracing their hand and cutting! Creating a list of hats will also help with higher level thinking processes including imagination and role playing.

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Other fun ways to modify this activity include: making the poster-board pieces even smaller, perhaps using an index card; use puff paint on the pieces in order to trace with index finger and create a tactile feedback for letter formation; Put velcro/magnets on the back of the pieces in order to use on a vertical surface or while swinging. Can you think of any other activities using the wood pieces?

Check out the app too! http://wetdrytry.com/

Now go have some fun and learn your letters! ūüôā

~Amy

How Does Your Engine Run?

23 Sep

The Alert Program is a one-of-a-kind program that allows children, teachers, parents, and therapists to choose appropriate strategies in order to change or maintain states of alertness. Children, teachers, parents, and other educators, are taught how to recognize when their nervous system is in a low or high alert state and then provides knowledge on what they can do to help regulate that nervous system to facilitate the optimal state based on the need (environment, demands, time of day, etc.)

“Leaders of the program not only learn what they can do to support self-regulation, but how to share the underlying theory so all can understand the basics of sensory integration. By reading the book or attending a conference, adults increase awareness of their own self-regulation thereby improving their ability to facilitate students’ optimal functioning. The Sensory-Motor Preference Checklist (for Adults) is a tool used to support this learning process. For example by filling out the checklist, adults may discover that before work, they may drink coffee, take a brisk walk, or listen to jazzy music to get their engine up and going for the day. Or others may find that they drink hot chocolate, rock in a rocking chair, or watch the glow of a fireplace to get their engine slowed down after a busy day. Bringing to awareness what most people do automatically in their daily routines, fosters the understanding of how important self-regulation is for students’ functioning.”¬†

Initially, the Alert Program was intended for children with attention and learning difficulties, ages 8-12. However, it has now been adapted for preschool through adult along with for a variety of disabilities. Due to the concepts taught in the program, if children are intellectually challenged or developmentally younger than the age of eight, the information gained can be utilized by staff to develop sensory diets (Wilbarger & Wilbarger, 1991) in order to enhance learning.

What is self-regulation? 
“Self-regulation is the ability to attain, change, or maintain an appropriate level of alertness for a task or situation” (Williams & Shellenberger, 1996). Having the ability to change how alert we feel is the foundation of every goal a parent, teacher, or therapist has for their children (or adult clients).

If we are in a low state of alertness (lethargic or “droopy”), we are not ready to learn. Likewise, if we are in a high state of alertness (hyper or overly active), learning is more difficult. Through the Alert Program, ¬†self-regulation strategies are offered in order to attain an optimal state of alertness. The goal is to set up the nervous system for success and be ready to learn and achieve goals.

Why the engine analogy? 
The Alert Program uses an engine analogy because many children can relate and learn quickly about self-regulation when talking about their ‚Äúengine‚ÄĚ going into high, low, or just right gears. The engine analogy is just one way, but by no means the only way, to describe how alert one feels. Other descriptors might include:

  • colors (red for high, yellow for low, green or blue for just right
  • animals (maybe cheetah for high, turtle for low, and bear for just right)
  • Winnie the Pooh (Tigger for high, Eyore for low, and Pooh for just right)
  • Use the child‚Äôs special interest, especially if on the Autism Spectrum. (For example, if the child loves to talk about a certain movie then use characters from that movie.)
  • Adults might use the words, ‚Äúhigh alert, low alert, and just right for ___ (fill in the blank for any activity)‚ÄĚ
  • Children who are more concrete thinkers might do better with actual photos taken when they are in high, low, or just right states of alertness.

Reference: http://www.alertprogram.com

Personal thoughts: I myself have the Alert Program resources and have completed the distance learning program to earn CEUs towards my license. I think it is a fabulous program with applicable and thorough information. It provides descriptions in an easily understandable method and has great tools for teachers and parents. Have you used the Alert Program in your treatment sessions? How did it work for you?

Children’s Book Shout Out:

Images courtesy of: http://www.aapcpublishing.net/

Your First Source for Practical Solutions for ASD (Autism-Spctrum Disorder) as well as sensory processing deficits, self-regulation, behavior, academics, vocational skills, and more!

Scholarly articles supporting the use of The Alert Program for evidence-based practice

School-Based Practice Moving Beyond 1:1 Service Delivery. Edited by Yvonne Swinth and Barbara Hanft. Sept. 16, 2002. http://www.aota.org/Pubs/OTP/1997-2007/Features/2002/f-091602_1.aspx?css=print

Autism Spectrum Disorders: Integrating Methodologies and Team Efforts. Tammy Sarracino, Lynn Dell, Sherry Milchick. Jan. 14, 2002, http://www.aota.org/Pubs/OTP/1997-2007/Features/2002/f-011402_1.aspx

Neurocognitive Habilitation Therapy for Children With Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: An Adaptation of the AlertProgram. American Journal of Occupational TherapyJanuary/February 2012vol. 66 no. 1 24-34

For a list of research articles please visit: http://www.alertprogram.com/research.php and contact The Alert Program.

~Amy

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